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One-off chance to cycle un-opened NDR

For one day only, cyclists are being invited to explore the westernmost sections of the A1270 Norwich Northern Distributor Road before they are opened to traffic.

The new dual carriageway is nearing completion between the A1067 Fakenham Road and the Drayton Lane roundabout, and these stretches will be open to cyclists from 10am to 4pm on Sunday  October 29 as part of the Norfolk Walking and Cycling Festival. These sections of road, and Drayton Lane to A140 Cromer Road, are expected to be opened to traffic in November, provided good progress is maintained on the major A1270/A140 junction.

Martin Wilby, chairman of Norfolk County Council’s environment, development and transport committee, said: “We are very pleased to give local people a chance to see the road before it’s open to general traffic, and to explore the new cycle-ways and links to Marriott’s Way and communities such as Horsford and Thorpe Marriott.

“This will be a one-off opportunity to ride on a traffic-free main carriageway, but maintaining and improving permanent cycle links is an essential part of the project. Once the whole NDR is finished, it will still be possible to use new and existing paths and quiet lanes to get from Fakenham Road to Postwick without setting foot or bicycle wheel on the road itself.”

Volunteers from main contractor Balfour Beatty, and from Norfolk County Council’s NDR and  ‘Pushing Ahead’  teams will be joined by others to provide supervision at key locations, including the Fir Covert Road and Reepham Road roundabouts, where cyclists will have to crossing live traffic.

John Birchall, NDR public liaison officer, said there had been many requests to run or cycle on the main carriageway before it opens to vehicles. “The 29th is primarily a family cycling event, and explorers will be able to decide for themselves how much of the three miles of dual carriageway or connected paths they ride. We are aiming to focus on runners when the last sections of the route, north of Postwick, are nearing completion next spring.”

Access on and off the NDR itself will be at the Fakenham Road, Fir Covert Road, Reepham Road and Drayton Lane roundabouts, but people coming from further afield will be able to park at the site compound off New Drayton Lane (NR10 3AN). Marriott’s Way also connects to the new cycle paths along the NDR, but is less suitable for road bikes. A leaflet and plan can be downloaded from the Pushing Ahead website.

 Photo: Pashley

 

Anger over ruined Hellesdon road verges

Fed up Hellesdon residents are calling on Norfolk County Council (NCC) to stop motorists parking on grass verges.

Parents dropping off children and collecting them from school have been blamed for wrecking sections of grass along Meadow Way.

But NCC says it will not be protecting the verges and suggests the school involved should send letters to parents, asking them to park more considerately.

Neighbours Brian Leckie and Anne Daynes say up to 30 cars park on verges on both sides of Meadow Way each morning and afternoon, as parents take children to and from Firside Junior School.

“They churn up and kill the grass. It’s such a mess and it’s such a shame, “said Mrs Daynes.” It just turns them to mud and they look very unsightly.”

Mr Leckie wants NCC to set posts into the verges, as has been done in a different section of Meadow Way, which has prevented parking and protected the grass.

The council is currently laying new pavements in Meadow Way and contractors will be reseeding the verges when their work is finished.

“There’s absolutely no point doing that,” said Mr Leckie. “They’ll be a mud-bath the next day. It would be better if they put hard core down.”

An NCC spokesman said their powers to prevent parking on verges were limited as drivers were not acting illegally, providing they were not causing an obstruction or danger.

She added: “The verges on Meadow Way will be soiled and seeded as part of the ongoing footway scheme, but council policy is not to guard verges with posts to protect against parking and overrunning. “We do sympathise with residents’ frustration, however damage to the verge is normally cosmetic in nature and does not pose a danger to highway users.”

Firside head teacher Roz Robinson said the school actively worked with residents to maintain good relations and parents were reminded about considerate parking throughout the year.

Just last week she had sent out a newsletter including a section on parking. It asked parents to park considerately, turn off engines while waiting for children and said she would be asking local police to carry out spot checks.

Mrs Robinson added: “I can only apologise on behalf of our parents for any issues around parking near our neighbours’ property.  As a school we will continue to remind our parents about parking and road safety in general.”

Pictured: Brian Leckie and Anne Daynes beside one of the damaged verges on Meadow Way and a different part of the road where posts have been installed preventing parking and protecting the grass.

 

 

Campaign for road safety in North Walsham moves forward

Campaigners in North Walsham have taken new steps to improve safety along two busy roads into the town.

Residents and councillors gathered at the junction of Aylsham Road and Skeyton New Road this morning (September 27) to display new signs urging motorists to take care and cut their speeds.

The idea came from campaigner and resident Bernie Marfleet who had seen the signage working in Switzerland and thought it would help in North Walsham.

The distinctive signs, which show two children asking motirists to cut their speed, have been introduced along both roads with pleas for 20mph limits. Norfolk County Council has also stepped in by painting lamp posts along the road orange to make them stand out so motorists can avoid clipping them as they pass.

Bernie said: “We want children to be able to walk and cycle safely to school and visit friends and playgrounds and that  parents can let them do this without fear and worry.”

The campaign has seen the support locally from haulage companies and from local printer North Walsham Signs.

The aim now is to create a path into the town and a meeting of councillors and the police is to be held in early October with Norfolk County Council Highways officers to discuss this and a list of other actions proposed to calm the traffic.

County councillor Eric Seward, who was there this morning, said: “Aylsham Rd in the town is a relatively narrow residential street that should not be a main lorry route due to it containing the only railway bridge that heavy lorries can access. The long-term solution is a new link road from Norwich Rd to the Lyngate industrial estate to remove heavy lorries from the town’s residential streets.

“I therefore welcome the county council’s recent announcement that North Walsham will be in the first batch of market towns for a study to look at the transport implications of housing and economic growth in the town. This ought to provide the evidence for public funding to support a new link road on the western side of the town where any new housing is likely to be located. In the meantime the safety of residents and pedestrians in Aylsham Road needs to be improved. The meeting in early October is an important step forward in helping to bring this about.”

Join in Marriott’s Way cycling celebration

To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the bicycle, a Whitwell-to-Norwich cycle rally is taking place on the Marriott’s Way Norfolk Trail on Sunday September 10 between 11am and 4pm. People are being urged to bring along their bikes both new and old to the event organised by Norfolk County Council, as part of the Marriott’s Way Heritage Trail Project, and Pushing Ahead.

The ride is set to stretch the 11 miles between the former Marlpit Arms pub, in Lower Hellesdon, and Whitwell Station near Reepham, and there will be refreshments and activities at each end of the rally route throughout the day. Everyone is welcome to go along and for those without their own bike it’ll be easy to take to two wheels on the day as free bicycle loan will be available at Whitwell, subject to availability, with a minibus back to Whitwell from the Marlpit Arms for those cyclists who need it. Martin Wilby, chairman of the environment, transport and development committee, said: “Over 100,000 cyclists, walkers and horse riders already use the Marriott’s Way every year which is hardly surprising as this accessible attractive traffic-free route links Aylsham, Reepham, Lenwade, Drayton, and Costessey with the heart of the city. “Do come along to see the rally and don’t forget you’re welcome to bring your bike to ride the trail and explore the fascinating history of this former railway line. You never know you may even find that the Marriott’s Way could be a new healthy route for your daily commute or somewhere from which to explore the beautiful Wensum valley countryside.” At Whitwell and Reepham Station the cycle rally will be setting off from 11am with people encouraged to dress in 1940s theme to match the train rides, restored station and mini-museum displays there on the day. During the day there will also be heritage railway displays, and the café at Whitwell station will be open from 8am for breakfast. At the Marlpit Arms end of the route there will be a host of events, activities and refreshments. The first set of riders along the rally route will be arriving from about midday after their ride down from Whitwell with prizes being awarded for best dressed adult, child and bike. Visitors will be able to get involved in cycling activities including balance bikes for children and adults, a bicycle obstacle course and there will be the chance to have a go at using the “smoothie” bike to create your own drink and a paint spinning bike to make a unique piece of art to take home. Live music will come from local folk music group The Marlpit Collective at 3.30pm and local artists will be displaying their work alongside an exhibition of vintage bikes and furniture and a look at the history of the Marlpit Arms pub and plans for its future. Locally-produced food will be available including a vegan curry alongside a hog roast, cakes and scones and real ales. And inbetween 11am and 6pm visitors will be able to meet lambs, sheep, a pony and small mammals with Angelica’s Rainbow, and even watch lamb racing. For younger cyclists and anyone wanting a shorter ride there will also be the opportunity to join the route at Drayton, riding just half the course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final week for competition entries from budding writers

By: Innes Enslin

There is just one week left for children and young people across Norfolk to submit their entries into Norfolk County Council’s creative writing competition for 5-13 year olds.

Write On Norfolk – a competition aimed at boosting summer learning and honing children’s writing skills has already received more than 120 entries since it opened on the 5 June, and now with just a week to go Norfolk County Council is encouraging even more children to get their entries in before it’s too late.  The Write On Norfolk competition is open to children and young people who are aged between five and 13 years old. Budding writers are asked to submit a piece of original creative writing before 31 August.

For the second year Jarrold of Norwich is backing the competition and will be donating Jarrold book tokens as prizes. In addition to these vouchers there will be a prize of an Amazon Fire tablet up for grabs for the gold winners.  Plus those writers who are enrolled in the Children’s University, their entries will earn credits towards their degree.

Alison Thomas, Deputy Leader of Norfolk County Council, who is one of the final judges for the competition said: “Helping Norfolk’s children achieve their full potential by giving them every opportunity to develop vital skills like reading and writing is a key priority for the county council which is why I’m so pleased that we are running this competition again.

“Last year I enjoyed reading some wonderful stories and poems from young people across Norfolk, and I hope that this year we get even more children taking part.

“As a Mum myself, I know just how important it is to keep up those skills during the long weeks of the summer holidays, but this competition is designed to be a fun way of doing it so I hope that parents, grandparents and carers will give them as much encouragement as possible to enter.”

BBC Radio Norfolk’s breakfast presenter, Nick Conrad, who will also judge the entries added: “Children can be wonderfully creative. Anything that marries up improving English skills, promoting literature and encouraging our next generation to get inspired, I support. I look forward to reading the stories and adventures conjured up by the minds of Norfolk’s school children.”

The only rules for the competition are that the writing must be a maximum of 500 words (roughly one side of A4 paper), and it must contain a link to Norfolk. The entry can be a short story, poem, script or even song lyrics and must be submitted online via the Norfolk County Council website – www.norfolk.gov.uk/writeon. Full details about the competition, including how to enter, and terms and conditions can be found by visiting the Council website.

Free child seats checks

Norfolk County Council’s road safety team and crews from Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service are once again taking to the road during the school holidays to host more than a dozen free child car seat checks across the county.

More Norfolk children are killed or seriously injured whilst in a car than they are as a pedestrian or cyclist. One in three child car seats are incorrectly fitted in Norfolk but almost all of these can be fixed immediately.

Child car seats are a legal requirement in the UK and make children far less likely to be seriously hurt in a collision. But they must be correctly fitted and adjusted to offer maximum protection, and it is easy to get it wrong. The events are running until August 16, 10am until 2pm at the locations listed below.  Families are invited to come along to get their child seats checked and to ask our team of experts about any aspect of road safety.
The county council’s road safety experts are also using the 18 free child seat safety checks to encourage parents to keep children rear facing in the car for much longer than families traditionally do in this country.
Scandinavian countries routinely keep their children in a rear facing seat until they are four or five years old. Research proves this is five times safer than the UK approach of putting a child in a forward facing seat at around nine months old.
Iain Temperton, the county council’s road safety manager, said: “I would urge anybody carrying young people to visit one of our events. It will only take five minutes but that will be time well spent if it improves the safety of the next generation of road users.”
Alistair Steele, consultant anaesthetist at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn said: “During my time as an air ambulance doctor and as a trauma doctor I have seen too many children severely injured from car accidents. In addition to the messages about driving safely we really want to help parents and carers get the right advice about child safety in cars, and there is a confusing array of restraints and booster systems available.
“The best thing to do is to take advice from a professional car seat fitter to ensure you’ve not only chosen a safe seat but also it is installed correctly.”
Child seat safety check events are taking place in the following locations from 10am until 2pm:Mon 24 July  Norwich – Tesco Harford Bridge
Tue 25 July  North Walsham – Sainsburys
Wed 26 July Sheringham – Tesco
Thu 27 July Aylsham – Tesco
Fri 28 July  Stalham- Tesco
Sat 29 July Holt – Budgens
Mon 31 July Norwich – Longwater Sainsburys
Tue 1 Aug Wymondham – Waitrose
Wed 2 Aug  Thetford – Sainsburys
Thu 3 Aug Diss – Morrisons
Fri 4 Aug Great Yarmouth – Asda
Mon 7 Aug Dereham – Tesco
Tue 8 Aug Downham Market – Tesco (2pm-6pm)
Wed 9 Aug Kings Lynn – Sainsburys
Thu 10 Aug Fakenham – Tesco
Fri 11 Aug Swaffham – Tesco
Tue 15 Aug Norwich – Sprowston Tesco
Wed 16 Aug Norwich – Hall Road Asda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Vibrant’ new look for former Sheringham seafront hotel

A first-floor restaurant with panoramic views over the promenade and the sea will be an integral part of a development planned for the site of the former Shannocks Hotel in Sheringham.
Wymondham-based architects Lucas Hickman Smith have designed plans for owners Huddies to transform the derelict hotel on the seafront into vibrant new building with the restaurant, shops and flats in keeping with the town’s heritage and the nearby buildings.
The ground-floor retail units, first-floor restaurant and residential apartments on the upper floors will all have sea views to take advantage of its position overlooking the beach.
Company director Andrew Roper said: “We believe the application proposes a vibrant, forward-looking new building, of high architectural quality and demonstrating a clear link to Sheringham’s heritage and its immediate context.
“We are keen for local life to be enhanced by the proposed development, and in particular that the wider community should have the opportunity to enjoy the expansive views over the promenade, the beach and the sea that are offered by the site’s location.”
An application for full planning permission has been submitted to North Norfolk District Council and comes at a time when the council was considering applying for a compulsory purchase order on the site for an alternative development, incorporating the site of the Former Shannocks Hotel and the adjacent Chequers Car Park, which is owned by NNDC.
Judy Oliver, for NNDC, said: “As per the last cabinet decision, we are maintaining pressure on the owners to move forward with development, by putting our own development proposals forward for planning approval, along with a voluntary offer to purchase the derelict hotel from them.”
However, Huddies has urged it to rethink its proposals in light of its application.
“The acquiring authority pays all of the costs of the CPO and the public inquiry, and is usually ordered to pay a successful objector’s legal and professional costs,” said Mr Roper, adding it would “not be in the interests of local ratepayers”.
John Western, a director at Lucas Hickman Smith architects said the company had looked at re-developing the current building but that it was in too poor a state. He said: “The fabric and structure are in a bad state and there are issues with salt saturation.”Mr Roper said: “Retention and renovation of existing buildings is not always an option and the professional and expert opinion received by the company is that this cannot be justified, and would detrimentally impact upon the viability of the scheme. NNDC’s alternative scheme, which was displayed at a consultation event in December, suggests that they have received similar advice from their own property advisors.
“In addition, the existing building’s solid wall construction precludes most forms of thermal insulation and, together with a permeable external skin, has meant that the building has been unable to resist salt spray in its exposed location, leading to significant damp problems.
“The company’s objective of achieving a high level of thermal and environmental performance from the building can only be achieved through demolition and redevelopment.”
If the plans are approved, which the site’s owner expects will take approximately three months, it is hoped work could start before the end of the year, though the developers, who bought the site in late 2010, said that works would steer clear of the summer season.
Mr Roper said: “We are keen to ensure that we minimise disruption to local businesses during the tourist season, and this approach was supported by NNDC when we submitted our project execution plan to them in September of last year.”
He added: “The site is significant in the context of Sheringham and North Norfolk, and the company is fully committed to providing this positive, contemporary addition to the town, which it fully expects will benefit the local community, providing employment in the ground and first-floor commercial spaces, improving the commercial viability of the high street, attracting visitors to the town and presenting a bright, optimistic and forward-looking vision for the seafront and the town.”
The council earlier this month said it could stop the compulsory purchase order at any time if the current site owners were seen to be taking action to tidy up the area.

Plan, eat and you really do save

Words by BETH ALSTON

Many of us would not consider ourselves to be wasteful. There are few people above chopping off the sprouting parts of potatoes that have been left at the back of a cupboard and does anyone really have an issue with eating a banana that has gone slightly brown?

It seems that not everyone has as loose standards as me because it has been reported that in Norfolk, food waste makes up approximately one third of the contents of our bins. The average family could save £700 a year, simply by throwing away less food.

Plan Eat Save is Norfolk County Council’s campaign to help Norfolk residents reduce their food waste and save money. Part of the campaign has been to encourage people to sign up to the Food Waste Challenge, which I myself did back in September at a Plan Eat Save cooking demo outside the Forum in Norwich.

The cooking demo was hosted by one of Norfolk’s best-loved chefs and YouTubers, Ian Haste from Haste’s Kitchen. Ian is the campaign’s official ambassador and a huge advocate of stripping cooking back to the basics and getting everyone involved in creating simple but delicious meals.

Speaking at the demo, Ian said: “Fifteen million tonnes of food is thrown away in the UK every year and a huge majority of that comes from our homes. I’ve teamed up with Plan Eat Save because I want to share tips and recipe’s to help people stretch their food further and longer, and save them money. I’ll be working with Plan Eat Save to show people what to do with leftovers that will appeal to the whole family.”

Just over three months after signing up to the Food Waste Challenge with the Plan Eat Save team at the cooking demo, I reviewed my weekly online food bill and discovered that in total compared to previous months, I had saved just under £150. This was including Christmas, which we all know is a more extravagant time of year (those mince pies and quality street aren’t going to eat themselves…).

By simply using the challenge’s weekly meal planner and taking note of the weekly top tip’s on Plan Eat Save’s Instagram, I had not only saved money, I had also become more organised with meal planning and wasted less food.

To find out more and sign up to the Food Waste Challenge, visit: http://www.recyclefornorfolk.org.uk/get-involved/food-waste/plan-eat-save/

To check out Ian’s YouTube channel:https://www.youtube.com/user/HastesKitchen